CURRENT RECORD: 51-28-1
The UFC returns to London, England for its first European show of 2017. Headlining Fight Night 107 is a light-heavyweight match-up between hometown favourite Jimi Manuwa and the ever resilient Corey Anderson. Manuwa comes into this fight having impressed last time out after knocking out Ovince Saint Preux to improve his overall record to 16-2. Corey Anderson defeated Sean O’Connell in his last contest to secure the fourth knockout victory of his career. In the co-main event, honorary Irishman Gunnar Nelson will take on Alan Jouban in an exciting welterweight clash. Elsewhere on the card, Brad “One Punch” Pickett will make his final appearance inside the Octagon in front of the local fans, as the London born fighter takes on late replacement Marlon Vera. Also, Joe Duffy will take on Reza Madadi in a lightweight clash, the undefeated Marc Diakiese takes on Teemu Packalen, Tom Breese returns to fight Oluwale Bamgbose and it’s England versus Wales as Ian Entwistle takes on Brett Johns in a bantamweight match up. An exciting night of fights, not to be missed, so be sure to be tuned in so you don’t miss out.
As always, I will now break down all the main card fights, give my predictions and of course, put my own “Armchair Expert” title on the line.
JIMI MANUWA vs. COREY ANDERSON
Jimi Manuwa signed with the UFC in 2012 with an undefeated record of 11-0. He further improved that with three straight stoppage victories, before suffering his first loss at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson. Since that defeat, Manuwa has gone 2-1, a win on either side of a knockout loss to KO machine “Rumble” Johnson. “Poster Boy” has some great boxing and is renowned for knockout power of his own, having finished fourteen of his previous opponents; ten inside the first round. Corey Anderson has had a short career thus far, only making his professional debut four years ago but in that short space of time he has managed to build a respectable record of 9-2. Anderson has a good stand up game but also knows how to grind out a win; he will attempt to frustrate Manuwa’s striking game plan and capitalise on his mistakes. With a shallow pool of challengers in the light-heavyweight division a win here could help either toward gaining a title shot. With greater stand up and better wrestling, I believe Manuwa will gain the victory inside the distance.
Manuwa by knockout.
GUNNAR NELSON vs. ALAN JOUBAN
The face of Icelandic MMA; Gunnar Nelson returns to the Octagon for the first time since submitting Albert Tumenov at Fight Night 87. Gunni is known for his ice cold fighting style, remaining calm throughout the duration of a fight. Nelson is quick on the feet but he explodes into life when the fight descends to the mat. Once there, Nelson patiently waits for an opportunity to present itself before springing into action and locking in a submission; 11 of his 15 career wins have ended this way. Alan Jouban is currently riding a three fight win streak, overcoming Brendan O’Reilly, Belal Muhammad and most recently Mike Perry. Jouban has been solid since signing with the UFC going 6-2, 15-4 overall. Jouban will need to ensure his takedown defence is on point and that he keeps the fight on the feet if he is to stand a chance of winning, if Gunni gets him down, it should be an early night. Despite Jouban never being submitted before I’m going for Gunni to hand him his first ever tap out loss.
Nelson by submission.
BRAD PICKETT vs. MARLON VERA
This will be the swansong for “One Punch” and he will be aiming to enter retirement with a win. Pickett is a fan favourite for many reasons including his willingness to stand and trade, he takes any match up without hesitation and always gives his all in every single fight. At 38 years of age and fighting in his hometown, this is the perfect ending to Pickett’s long MMA career. Attempting to derail his perfect ending is Marlon Vera, who took this fight on just seven days’ notice. Vera is a young competitor looking to make his mark and despite Pickett’s impending retirement, he is still a name and victory for Vera on such short notice would gain him plenty of credibility. Vera won’t be pushing the pace too hard and risk draining his cardio, so I expect he will stand and trade with Pickett early before looking for the takedown. Pickett has always been known for his stand and bang style but he is also a very underrated wrestler, I think he should be able to stuff any takedowns and keep this on the feet. Despite his age, Pickett still has some very crisp boxing and can hold his own on the feet with most in the bantamweight division. I expect Pickett to fight cautiously and fight from the counter thus doing enough to win on the scorecards.
Pickett by decision.
ARNOLD ALLEN vs. MAKWAN AMIRKHANI
Arnold Allen is a fighter with a big reputation in England; he dominated the local circuit before joining the UFC ranks in 2015. Allen is 11-1 in his career; eight of his eleven wins have come by stoppage. “Almighty” is a handful on the feet and times his strikes perfectly, he holds undefeated kickboxing and amateur boxing records and he has forged these skills extremely well into his MMA style. Makwan Amirkhani exploded onto the radar with an 8 second KO of Andy Ogle in his UFC debut in 2015. He has continued his rise with a pair of victories over Massio Fullen and Mike Wilkinson to advance to 13-2. Amirkhani switches his training between SBG Ireland and his homeland of Finland and since joining ranks with John Kavanagh, his overall game has greatly improved. Both these fighters will be eager to impress and both know a win here could push them towards the money fights in the featherweight division. I think the deciding point of this fight will come down who gains control on the feet. I believe Amirkhani is slightly better well rounded and should do enough to get yet another victory here.
Amirkhani by decision.
Best of the Rest.
Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi
Duffy to win.
Darren Stewart vs. Francimar Barroso
Stewart to win.
Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Timothy Johnson
Johnson to win.
Marc Diakiese vs. Teemu Packalen
Diakiese to win.
Tom Breese vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
Breese to win.
Leon Edwards vs. Vicente Luque
Luque to win.
Ian Entwistle vs. Brett Johns
Johns to win.
Bradley Scott vs. Scott Askham
Askham to win.
Lina Lansberg vs. Lucie Pudilova
Lansberg to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 13 predictions in an accumulator is about 195/1.
The inbetweener bet: Lansberg, Breese, Duffy, Pickett and Nelson to win is 5/1.
The conservative bet: Manuwa by KO is 11/10.
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